Monday, March 19, 2012

Taiwan: 11 Days Northern and Central West Trip Itinerary Sampler


Taiwan, quoted by Lonely Planet, within the borders of this small, sweet potato-shaped island with barely 23 Million populations lies the contrasts and melange of cultural influences that you will not likely to find anywhere else on the planet.

This will be the most interesting trip that I've longed to visit and missed twice of previous scheduled trip due to several reasons.

Introduction

This sampler is modified to accommodate my mom's need after I have encouraged her to take on the trip with me and I'm really excited to see how it turns out for her.

I'm worried she is neither a backpacker nor she is a frequent traveler, definitely not used to the plenty of walking and talking with strangers although she has been swamped by some of my thrilling backpacking stories over the years.

It's the first time having a travel partner, I'm going to stay positive we will quickly love Taiwan and settle down at the home of the world's warmest people.

And the best part is, we can communicate in Chinese - Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, English, bring it on man! Language is the most underlying advantage that a Malaysian has, it's incredible isn't it!

The fact is, there's not much information about Taiwan and not many books written in English about it too but that doesn't mean Taiwan isn't the favourite travel destination of the many travelers.

As I dig deeper into what they have to offer, Taiwan is such a spectacular travel destination for magnificent cultural exploration. Old towns and streets in city easily existed for centuries!

Besides their deeply rooted cultures, they have the best food! For decades, Taiwanese focus so much on the packaging the food look incredibly nice in any part of the country,  and the food are given such a detail highlight you can find them in every single Chinese written travel book!

Suggested Trip Length

The suggested trip length is about eleven days, I originally have a 14 days circle the island itinerary but it's unlikely to happen, first because my mom could really use some relaxing schedule and second is the time limitation.

I have a start up coming up real soon, the launch should be on early April shortly after I'm back from the trip.

Hence, this is going to be slightly more loosen up trip, a slow start sampler, it's more practical for most of the travelers to take on the balance of cultural experiencing, more relaxing time for the details.

Climate

Taiwan is typically presenting an average temperature of 22 Celsius all year round, there's no severe cold in winder and no brutal summer heat according to Travel China Guide.

Many travel guides including Wikitravel have mentioned that the best time to travel Taiwan is on the month of October and November.




Autumn (Sept - Nov) is seen to be good traveling time to many as the conditions tend to be warm and dry and prices lower, while, Spring (March - May) can be clear and dry, or wet.

Summer (June-August) is usually a great time to visit the east coast, especially the outdoor activities at the beaches.

Many think that traveling during Chinese NewYear is a bad decision but it is at this time you will be able to experience the Chinese's biggest festive celebration, the rates are likely to double and shops are shut down the first few days.

The low month is the traditional month of Ghost on July as the prices can drop slightly.

Sample Plan

This sample plan covers most of the travel hotspots in Taipei in 3 days, I'm spending 2 days in Jiufen to take an easy walk at the older quarter before traveling to Wulai, another old quarter with remarkable scenery.

After Wulai, a more hectic schedule to Taichung, I'm going to stay in Taichung for the local's favourite Fengjia night market, a lot of half day trips to nearby towns at Lugang, Dajia, Fongyuan and Sinshe for a good mixed of travel experience for instance the flower farms, century old temples and towns.

Last destination will be the incredible Alishan, we will spend our last 2 nights to relax at the hilltop before heading back to Taoyuan International Airport on the last day of our trip.

Travelers who love Tainan or Kaohsiung can spend the last 2 days in the city while I have to skip them this round and come back another time.

Those of you who want to go for Taiwan's biggest musical fest, Spring Scream, in Kenting around this time, I've included its information at the end of the blog.

Day 1 - Arrival in Taoyuen >Taipei
Day 2 - Taipei > Danshui > Taipei
Day 3 - Taipei > Beitou > Taipei
Day 4 - Taipei > Jiufen
Day 5 - Jiufen
Day 6 - Jiufen > Wulai
Day 7 - Wulai > Taichung > Lugang > Dajia > Taichung
Day 8 - Taichung > Fongyuan > Sinshe > Taichung
Day 9 - Taichung > Alishan
Day 10 - Alishan
Day 11 - Alishan > Taoyuan > Kuala Lumpur


View Taiwan Brief Travel Itinerary Sampler in a larger map

Main Attractions

This map has most of my travel destinations, there are places I have to skip due to lack of time, I'll continue to update this map as I'm sure I'll discover another great number of interesting places to visit in the process of studying more about Taiwan before making the trip.


View [Taiwan] Backpack itinerary sampler in a larger map

Taipei City 台北市
  • Taipei 101 台北101
  • Ximending 西门町 (Young & trendy district)
  • Longshan temple 龙山寺
  • Sun Yat-sen memorial park 国父纪念馆
  • Natinal palace museum 台北故宫博物馆
  • Baoan temple 保安宫
  • Dihua street 迪化街 (one of the oldest street in Taipei)
  • Office of the president 总统府
  • Zhongxia east road 忠孝东路(东区 Shopping heaven)
  • Danshui old quarter 淡水老街
  • Taiwan democracy memorial park 中正纪念堂
  • Yongkang street 永康街
  • Wufenpu 五分埔 (Best shopping place)
  • Yangmingshan national park 阳明山公园
  • National Taiwan museum & garden 二二八和平公园
  • Tianhou temple 天后宫
  • Beitou hotspring 北投温泉
  • Wulai old quarter 乌来老街 (One of the oldest quarter & waterfall)
  • Tianmu 天母

Dihua street 迪化

Taipei 101 台北101

Wulai 乌来

Ximending 西门町

Night Markets in Taipei
  • Shihlin night market 士林夜市
  • Raohen night market 饶河夜市
  • Shida night market 师大夜市
Keelung City 基隆市
  • Miaokou night market 庙口夜市
  • Jiufen old quarter 九份老街 (One of the oldest quarter)

Jiufen 九份

Taichung City台中市
  • Fengjia night market 逢甲夜市 (The biggest night market in Taiwan - 1,500 stalls & shops)
  • Sun moon lake 日月潭
  • Changhua 彰化
  • Lugang 鹿港 (One of the oldest quarter)
  • Fongyuan 丰原
  • Sinshe 新社 
  • Dajia 大甲
  • Jiji small rail line 集集
  • Alishan 阿里山
  • Yushan national park 玉山国家公园

Alishan 阿里山

Yushan 玉山

Lugang 鹿港

Sinshe 新社

Entertainments at Night in Taipei

Taipei's night life is one of the main attraction and it's highly recommended to spend the weekend in Taipei and visit one of these clubs.

I've gone through a few video clips and Taipei is thought having plenty of awesome pubs and clubs that can be found all over the city.

Some of them are owned by Taiwan celebrities.
  • Lava
  • Pasoul (Drink all night over the weekend, I'll have to confirm this myself)
  • Room 18 (More privileged group)
  • Luxy (Drink all night)
  • Primo (More privileged group)
  • Babe 18 (Drink all night, Thursday)
There is a video about Taipei's clubs about the club in Chinese.

Useful Maps

MRT route - 16fan forum

Spring Scream 春呐

One of the many things I want to do is to visit Spring Scream 春天呐喊, in short, 春呐 (Chun-na), a once a year epic adventure of art and audio aspiration that hits the island in Kenting.

An amazing and widely known, one of the largest international music festival in Taiwan with over 200 domestic and global bands performing over the course of 4 days festival.

It just gotten bigger and bigger with so much emphasis on music and sound. And it's happening on 4-8 April 2012.

I just hope I can make it this trip, entrance fee is only NT$1,500/USD30. Yeah, bikinis and hot chicks!

Spring Scream musical event 春呐

8 comments:

  1. Ahhh...how I wish to stay longer at Jiu Fen back then. Is a peaceful village located within the hills. Neway,have a pleasant trip with your mom.

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  2. That is a very detailed and long post. Hope you had fun in Taiwan :)

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  3. Hey Andrew, your trip sounded and looked lovely. I'm looking to travel through taiwan with my parents too. I was wondering how did you travel from region to region. For example Juifeng to Taichung to Alishan, etc. Was it by train, bus, or...?

    Thanks.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. how much did u spend for this trips? (accomodation,air ticket, transport,food etc..)

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    Replies
    1. Visit www.mytaiwanjourney.com David Liaw, a experienced travel guide, will take you and your friends to visit Son Moon Lake and central Taiwan area for USD 100.00 per day(for 4 person)

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